(CNN) – For many, it’s an annual December conundrum – greet people with the traditional “Merry Christmas” or the secular “Happy Holidays”?
It’s a small decision with seemingly oversized cultural significance, coming amid pressure to “keep Christ in Christmas” while also remaining inclusive of people who don’t celebrate the Christian holiday.
A new poll from Marist and the Knights of Columbus shows that nationwide, two-thirds of Americans prefer to go with “Merry Christmas” over “Happy Holidays.” There is a divide, however, between Americans living on the East and West Coasts, and Midwesterners and people living the South.
Fifty-six percent of Northeasterners and 57% of West Coasters said “Merry Christmas” was their greeting of choice. In the Midwest, 70% chose “Merry Christmas,” and in the South 69% felt the same.
Older generations were also more likely to choose “Merry Christmas,” while 50% of millennials (people ages 18-30) preferred to make merry with “Happy Holidays.”
Americans over 65 overwhelming chose “Merry Christmas” over “Happy Holidays,” 74% to 22%.
The Marist-Knights of Columbus poll was taken by phone November 8-10 from 1,026 adults. The sampling error was plus or minus three percentage points.